Parent FAQs

What are the expectations for the track and cross country teams?

Both programs are very competitive varsity sports.  While no athlete is ever cut from the team based on talent or abilities, all athletes are held to the same high expectations.  Being on the team is a privilege and not a right, and it is a big commitment. While we want our athletes to have fun (and we have a lot of fun) we are not a social club and our goal is to excel in our sport. This sport, more than any other, requires consistency and commitment and our policies are geared to maximize success. Our athletes are held to higher standards of behavior than other students and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly.

How can I get information/stay up to date?

The best place for information is this website.  Schedules with links to google maps and meet itineraries, results, news, announcements, and all-time lists are all kept on this website and updated regularly. 

How can I contact the coach?

The best way to contact the coaching staff is by e-mail (jonesgirlsrun@gmail.com)

How long are practices?

Practices are from 3:30 - 5:30, Monday-Friday. We may also practice some Saturdays when we do not have a meet scheduled. See our calendar for the full schedule. 

What are the attendance policies for the team?

Running is a sport which requires consistency and dedication, and as such, it is important that all athletes be at practice.  While running by yourself is better than not running, it is not the same as running with your teammates under the supervision of the coaching staff. 

Practice Attendance Policy:

Except in the case of absolute emergency, all absences must be submitted via e-mail by the athlete to jonesgirlsrun@gmail.com as soon as you are aware that you'll be missing practice and at least 24 hours prior to the practice. Parents and/or teammates should not communicate absences to the coach; this is the athlete's responsibility. Failure to communicate an absence to the coach in a timely manner will impact meet participation.

No one will be removed from the team for exceeding the absence limit due to illness, but absences due to illness - and illness itself - may impact meet participation. 

Cross Country: 

Athletes may miss up to six practices throughout the cross country season (the first day of official practice through the state meet, as determined by the IHSA 5-year calendar) and returning runners may not miss the first three days of cross country season. Athletes and families are asked to carefully consider the importance of consistency for the entire team prior to making other commitments during practice time. Missing more than six practices (or 5% of practices over a 12 week season) will impact meet participation and may result in removal from the team. Number of absences from practice will be a factor in coaching decisions such as the postseason roster, participation in Nike Northside/Southside or other special privileges, and level of participation in meets. 

Missing any practice without sufficient notice or for disciplinary reasons will impact meet participation and may result in removal from the team. 

The first three days of each cross country season will continue to be mandatory for returning runners. For planning purposes, the practice start date for the next 5 years can be found at https://www.ihsa.org/SportsActivities/GirlsCrossCountry/5YearSeasonCalendar.aspx 

Track: 

Athletes may miss up to six practices during the track season. Athletes and families are asked to carefully consider the importance of consistency for the entire team prior to making other commitments during practice time. Missing more than six practices  will impact meet participation and may result in removal from the team. Number of absences from practice will be a factor in coaching decisions such as the postseason roster, special privileges, and level of participation in meets. 

Meet Attendance Policy:

Attendance at all meets is mandatory for all team members. Absences from meets should be submitted via e-mail to jonesgirlsrun@gmail.com at the beginning of the season. Any absences from meets other than those submitted at the beginning of the season or in case of emergency will impact future meet participation and/or result in removal from the team. Athletes are expected to make meets their top priority during the season and should schedule all other activities around the meet schedule. 

My child needs to miss practice. What should I do?

Your daughter should e-mail the coach at jonesgirlsrun@gmail.com as soon as you are aware that she'll be missing practice.  We understand that things happen, students get sick, etc, which is why the absences are built in to our policy.  The sooner we know about absences the sooner we can discuss options that will minimize the impact on student-athletes.  It is even more vital we know ahead of time if athletes will need to be missing a meet.  At most meets we cannot substitute runners, so if an athlete is entered and cannot attend it is a lost opportunity.  Missing a meet without approved notice will result in immediate dismissal from the team. 

Can my child miss one day per week for tutoring/ACT prep/other activities?

In the interest of fairness to all athletes we will not allow athletes to miss more than the allowed number of practices.  We understand that academics must come first and if students cannot balance running with their academic needs then they must choose academics. Missing one or two practices all season is negotiable, missing once a week is not. 

What equipment does my child need? 

1. Properly fitted running shoes - an important factor in injury prevention. We recommend being fitted at a running shoe store. 

2. A watch with a split function - nothing fancy necessary! 

3. A pair of solid black athletic pants to wear to meets and cold weather practices. We recommend ones with a zipper at the ankle for easy removal prior to races. 

4. (optional) A solid navy long sleeve top and solid black leggings to be worn under the uniform when racing in cold weather. 

In addition, athletes may purchase their warmup top and other team gear from the team store, which will open at the beginning of each cross country and track season. Runners who don't wish to purchase a warmup top will be provided one that they will return at the end of the season. 

Can I pick my child up from a meet?  Can they get a ride from someone else? Can they take public transportation home?

You may absolutely pick your child up from a meet.  We ask that if possible, you allow your child to stay for the entire meet to cheer on his or her teammates.  For liability purposes we must ask you to sign out your child in person.  The sign-out sheet is held by the managers in the clipboard. 

If you would like your child to go home with someone else, take public transportation, walk, or meet you somewhere then we ask that you write a note or email beforehand.  We cannot legally allow students to leave a meet without a note. If you are taking other runners home with you we ask that you sign them out as well and that they have a note.

How can I help my child improve?

Most importantly give them the opportunity to train consistently and properly.  We know it takes up a lot of time but it is an extremely rewarding experience.  If possible, keep the season schedule in mind when planning vacations/college visits etc.  Be supportive, encourage them to take care of little things (diet, sleep, hydration) and make sure they are keeping on top of their academic work.  Help them stay relaxed and positive about races and avoid putting pressure on them - most kids do that enough already.

We will be going on vacation, what should we do?

Please let us know as soon as possible.  Please note that the first three days of cross country practice (dates for the next 5 years can be found here: http://ihsa.org/SportsActivities/GirlsCrossCountry/5YearSeasonCalendar.aspx) are mandatory for all returning runners.  These dates are given out more than a year in advance and failure to attend will result in dismissal from the team. Spring break falls in the middle of the track season with meets on both weekends.  We encourage athletes to try to avoid missing meets.  We encourage you to plan vacations early in the summer or during winter break as these will not conflict with any seasons.

Any time an athlete must miss for vacation  she is expected to keep up with mileage, logging runs and workouts.  Missing workouts and/or meets during vacations will likely impact an athlete's performance and improvement and may be a factor in decision making for championship season rosters.

How can I help or support the team?

Thanks so much for asking! Our program wouldn’t be where it is today without our fabulous parent and family support network. We truly appreciate ALL of your support.

General Support


First and foremost, before any material support, your time and encouragement of our athletes is most important.  A great parent support network is vital in a successful high school athletics program.  Your continued presence and encouragement at competitions, and the like, is very welcome and extremely valuable to our success. We also ask for your understanding in how much the sport means to the athletes on this team and ask for your help in allowing them to be fully engaged and able to commit at the level that is required of them.

Transportation


Due to budget cuts and increased team size, we often need parent help with transportation to meets.  Typically we cannot afford transportation for meets within the Chicago city limits or when only a small portion of the team will be competing. 

Food and Drink


Our athletes definitely appreciate snacks and beverages post-meet.  If you are interested in bringing something we encourage you to check out the Google Doc to see what is already being brought and to add to the list.  Water and sports drinks are always in high demand.

Monetary Donations


We greatly appreciate any financial help, especially given the incremental growth of the team and continuing financial pressures faced by many CPS schools. Donations get used towards lowering the cost of team events (pasta parties, bringing extra runners to the state meet, forest preserve runs etc.) as well as purchasing equipment for our athletes (uniforms, warmups, tape, massage sticks, heating pads, batons, blocks, etc.)

Gear Donations

If preferable, gear donations are also always welcome.  Please see the following "wishlist" that we will keep updated as the season progresses.  You may always contact a coach with any additional questions.  

Wishlist

  • Extra running watches
  • Additional postseason uniforms

Do you always run outside? What type of clothing does my daughter need to be prepared for cold-weather practice?

Due to the cold and inclement weather conditions that are often associated with track season, please review the following winter running guidelines that Jones College Prep Cross Country/Track and Field abides by.  The following guidelines were compiled using expert sources from both the sport and medical field.  The majority of principles that our program has adopted are derived from guidelines set forth by The Mayo Clinic and Dr. Stephen M. Pribut, a world renowned sports medicine podiatrist and running health expert who is on the Advisory Board of Runners’s World magazine.

As such, we ask you to please defer to the expert guidelines on the subject and respect the coaching staff’s discretion as related to decisions regarding safety and winter running. 

Temperature Guidelines

 As is the policy on many college and high school teams, distance runners will always run outside if it is 10° Fahrenheit or warmer while discretion will be used within the  5°-10° range based on factors such as wind chill.  Guidelines for sprint athletes will vary given that the nature of their workouts sometimes requires even warmer temperatures.  If the temperature does fall below 5°, mid-distance and distance runners will still be expected to attend practice that will be held indoors.  The weather conditions will be checked (using weather.com) by the coaching staff throughout the day, as well as at the beginning of practice time, in order to make a decision based on outdoor running.  Also, please note that a formal wind index chart will be consulted to ensure that the wind chill factor is safe to practice outdoors in as well.  While the air temperature may be above the 10° mark the coaching staff may still prevent outdoor practice depending on the wind chill.  Again, please defer to the responsible expertise of the coaching staff.

According to Mayo Clinic guidelines, “almost everyone can exercise safely during cold weather,” as long as proper precautions are taken.  It is also important to note, according to Dr. Pribut, that during the act of running an athlete’s body temperature will raise and feel as much as 20°warmer

Preparation Guidelines

All athletes are expected to be prepared with proper dress at all times throughout the winter.  An athlete who is not properly dressed may be prevented from practicing outdoors, which will result in an unexcused absence.  The proper preparation in terms of dress is the most important defense against cold weather conditions. 

As a guideline, runners typically need three layers of clothing during cold weather runs: (1) a base layer that absorbs perspiration and transports it away from the body, (2) a middle layer that serves as a heat insulator to keep you warm, and (3) a top layer that protects you from any weather, such as wind, snow, rain, etc.

The most important requirement is a hat and gloves.  The highest percentage of heat escapes through extremities such as your head and hands, thus, covering these up with adequate protection is vital to staying warm and safe through the winter months.  Protecting your hands with a quality pair of gloves will also prevent possible frostbite.  On the coldest of days, all athletes will be required to have all of their skin covered, with the exception of a small portion of their face.

Overview

We ask for your respect in regards to weather related decisions.  The athlete’s safety and well-being is always the number one priority and we fully trust the knowledge and experience of our coaching staff when making such decisions.  In the case of a CPS district wide cancellation of all sporting functions, such a mandate will be respected and practice/competitions at the school level will be cancelled.  Please also visit our team website for additional resources in regards to cold weather training and safety guidelines.

Sources: “Mayo Clinic: Exercise and Cold Weather”; “Running in the Cold,” Pribut, Dr. Stephen

Additional Information:

Runners's World: How to Make Cold-Weather Runs Safe - and Even Fun